I hate to be the bearer of bad news (actually not true) but I think I’ve figured out how it works. (I don’t just bitch, either. I’ll also include solutions. I’m proactive that way.)
- Netflix is the only source for Netflix Original programming: House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black.
- Hulu is the only source for Hulu Original programming: None come to mind but I do know they’ll have commercials.
- Amazon Prime has mostly the same shit.
- iTunes offers the same content but at premium ala carte prices.
- HBO is the only source for HBO Original programming: The Newsroom and Game Of Thrones.
- CBS is a bunch of greedy dillholes: Survivor and Big Bang Theory.
- MLB is the only source for most MLB Original programming but only if you have enough money. Otherwise they won’t even stream the goddamned World Series. (I was actually surprised by this, but only for a nanosecond.)
I prognosticated to my wife a long time ago that the days of accessing “content” would soon be coming to a close. This week we moved much closer to that reality. You like some shows on Hulu and some on Netflix? You’ll have to buy both even if the remaining majority of their DNA is essentially the same. Exclusivity is the ticket to getting customers to pay more than once. And make no mistake, it is all out global thermonuclear war on your wallet. That is the only thing that matters. They don’t do this for fun.
“Content” gets the air quotes treatment because it’s a euphemism for shitty pieces of shit that we don’t need. You know, stuff like our eyeballs staring at the idiot box.
What’s the dream? For content producers who own IP (Intellectual Property) like your favorite show, it’s hundreds of millions of subscribers all paying monthly fees. That is the one and only dream. Cash flow. Subscription-based content.
Netflix has more than an estimated 50 million subscribers. They charge $8.99 a month for their streaming service. By that estimate Netflix has revenues over $5 billion a year or $14.78 million per day. Yeah, having a lot of subscription customers is the dream. On steroids.
Can you find CBS shows on Netflix? Not if they are still hot and economically viable. Netflix is more like a dumping ground for that least economic squeeze of the teat. “What else can we milk from this piece of crap?” That’s a rhetorical question but the answer is still “stream.”
Since CBS withholds from Netflix the content you actually want, what then? The answer is CBS*All Access. Yep, a streaming service for only one damn channel. It includes access to “6,500 episodes.” And it’s “only” $5.99 a month.
Yes, Netflix is currently the best value with the largest library. Without hard data it is difficult to quantify unit price and value, but it’s safe to say that the CBS approach of $6 for a fraction of the content represents a quantum leap in gouging. Yes, it’s our old friend Gold Nugget Economics back to haunt us, and just in time for Halloween, too. (It’s a complicated financial theory that can be described, in a nutshell, as “I’m gold and you’re poop.” This simple concept is what makes the world go round and require disinfecting – all at the same time!)
Psst! Hey, kid! C’mere. I know you can buy a dozen donuts across the street for $8.99 but I’m willing to sell you a single one for “only” $5.99. Is that a good deal or what?!?
And you can bet your ass that advertising will be part of the deal. Why pay once when you can pay twice? This is called double dipping. Advertising makes me physically angry. Mmm? Maybe the alcohol industry is behind this? Yeah, that makes sense. Yet another conspiracy theory is hatched. Because, that’s just how they’d play it.
In the near future your monthly budget may not only include checks and/or debits and/or Apple Pay for things like rent, health, energy, groceries, insurance and car, but also a buttload of content sources. “Honey, did you mail the payment for CBS yet? How about Hulu? Amazon? iTunes? AMC? Netflix? MLB? Starz? HBO? Showtime? The vlog of those kids in the basement down the street? Your niece’s Facebook page? Microsoft Office? Abobe?”
Yes, I slipped a couple of softwares in there, too, because that is also the dream. They want you pay monthly for your computer software. Don’t think of it as software. Think of it as a “service.” A service that we provide and you must pay for monthly. A “service” that’s guaranteed to never have a “happy ending.” (It’s much more akin to getting screwed without being kissed and we all know how that goes.)
I did, however, way back at the start of this, promise solutions. It’s what I do.
I’m not going to lie. It won’t be easy. It will require discipline. It will require sacrifice. It will make your question your mortal soul.
Hint 1: Don’t watch their shit.
This is along the lines of “if you love something set it free.” The moment you actually care is the moment they get their meat hooks in you. The secret to getting what you want is not wanting it. And no, you can’t fake this. You have to really not want it. Then and only then can you have it.
Hint 2: Anytime a friend asks “Do you watch that TV show XYZ?” you punch them in the face, or, optionally, knee ’em in the nards.
Choosing to watch a new show is a big deal. It’s an investment of your time and energy. And soon it’ll be a decision with a significant fiscal impact. You’ll want to consult your financial planner before making any decisions. “Can we shift anything from mutual funds right now? Do we have the liquidity? We’re thinking about signing up for Naked Debutantes on FOX.”
Hint 3: Nothing Is Real (Except Your Wallet)
Try to remember that all sports are fixed and that all programming is fake. That hit TV show you like? It’s known as fiction. Do the right thing and don’t give a flying fuck about the fates of invented characters whose actions are dictated by teams of writers and are portrayed by asshole performers. None of it is real. Why should you care? So what if Lord Chauncy dies while on the cusp of love at Hufflepuff Manor? Try to remember that’s just an actor leaving to look for a better job.
Hint 4: Switchback Mountain AKA “It turns out I can quit you and damn easily, too.”
If you absolutely must dip your toes in their jumped-the-shark infested waters, be smart about it. This is where your commitment and resolve will be tested. Will you be Chief Brody or will you be a bit of chum? The choice is entirely up to you. Remember, if you play by their rules, they win and may God have mercy on your soul.
This technique involves the staggering of your content consumption needs. Sign up for only one service at a time. Efficiently consume their exclusive contents. Then cancel the service and sign up for the next. Rotate. Wash. (Because you’ll feel dirty.) Rinse. Repeat.
Yes, some patience will be required, but on the plus side, you’ll only have one extra rear-end lover in your life at one time.
If done correctly, but the time you return to a particular service for your next dosage of their content, you might even get something like a free trial and that’s when you get to win for a change. (Just be sure to cancel before they charge your card.)